WILLIAMS BAY — A naturalist from the Wisconsin Northwoods is visiting the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy and the Barrett Memorial Library to teach appreciation of nature and how to tell stories about it.
Emily Stone, an author and naturalist from the Cable Museum of Natural History in Cable, will present programs for kids and adults as part of the Nature Series, a joint program between the library and Kishwauketoe.
Stone will also conduct a training program for volunteers at the Kishwauketoe conservancy.
Stone is visiting the Williams Bay area at the invitation of Jim Killian, a village trustee and a member of the Kishwauketoe board of directors.
“She is a master public speaker and storyteller,” Killian said.
Stone grew up in Elkader, a small town in northeastern Iowa. When she was 16, her parents took her to the Boundary Waters, a wilderness region straddling the U.S.-Canadian border.
“I fell in love both with the place, and with canoe expeditions as a mode of travel,” Stone said. “That love of place has spurred much of my learning.”
Stone’s father, Larry Stone, was an outdoor writer for 25 years for the Des Moines Register newspaper.
“We were a very outdoorsy family from the start, and also very fond of books and reading,” she said. Stone will be at Barrett library from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Aug. 27 with a program for children called Finding Stories in Nature. Preregistration is required at the library website, williamsbay.lib.wi.us.
She will return to Barrett that same day from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with the family version of Finding Stories in Nature, aimed at adults as well as kids.
Stone will also get a tour of Kishwauketoe, and on Aug. 29 she will conduct a training session for Kishwauketoe volunteers on how to use storytelling to explain the workings of nature. This will be particularly helpful for volunteers who teach kids’ nature courses at the conservancy and tour guides, Killian said.
Killian said he is a big fan of Stone, who does weekly nature columns called Natural Connections for 15 newspapers in northern Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota.
Stone is also author of “Natural Connections – Exploring the Northwoods through Science and Your Senses,” which is a compilation of her favorite columns.
Stone and Killian first met at a conference of Wisconsin Master Naturalists in October 2018. The Master Naturalist program, which is run through the University of Wisconsin-Extension, is like the Master Gardner program. Volunteers take courses in environmentalism and natural science and then take a test. Those who pass the test are certified as Master Naturalists.
During the conference, Stone led a session called Finding Stories in Nature, he said.
The Nature Series in Williams Bay was started about a year ago, with Kishwauketoe and library staff locating and bringing in experts and writers to talk about their books and about nature.
Barrett Memorial Library director Joy Schnupp said Nature Series events are scheduled about every six weeks. On Aug. 28, Stone will visit the Schlitz Audubon Center bird sanctuary in Milwaukee County. She accepted the invitation to visit Williams Bay because she has never been there before.
“I tend to head north when I travel, but I have many friends through the Wisconsin Master Naturalist program who work at nature centers in southern Wisconsin,” she said.
She added that the Cable Natural History Museum, where she works, is “an amazing little gem.”
“I’m hoping that this trip will put it on more people’s radars,” she said.
Cable is in northern Wisconsin, about 360 road miles from Williams Bay. Stone said she was drawn to northern Wisconsin by Northland College in Ashland, where she majored in outdoor education and natural history with a minor in geology. She earned her field naturalist master’s degree from the University of Vermont.
She has been with the Cable museum since 2011, but has also worked at Canyonlands National Park in Utah, Acadia National Park in Maine, and spent a month of wolf-watching in Yellowstone National Park. During her visit to Williams Bay, she hope to hike around Geneva Lake.